You might have heard about the ketogenic diet only recently; but, unlike so many other flavor-of-the-week, fad-driven diets, this nutritional theory taps into a process that the human body is programmed, primordially, to activate: ketosis.
Ketosis is the biological state in which glucose (the common denominator into which all carbs are broken down) is scarce; so, in its absence, the body breaks down fatty acids into ketones, chemical compounds that can fuel muscles and the brain. In short, during ketosis, the body burns fat for energy! When ketosis is maintained, many experience weight loss, in addition to mental clarity and higher, steadier energy levels.
The typical MAD (Modern American Diet) exhibits a significant glucose surplus, rather than a ketosis-inducing scarcity. The culprit? Carbohydrates. For the average adult over the age of 20, carbohydrates comprise 49.6% of overall calories consumed by women, and 47.4% of the total calories consumed by men, according to the CDC. Research suggests that this overabundance of carbs, and in turn high and/or fluctuating blood sugar, underlies diseases like diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s (lately dubbed “Type 3 Diabetes”), to name a few.
The ketogenic diet derails this blood sugar rollercoaster by minimizing carbs consumption. But fear not, the ketogenic diet is not one of restriction, but of substitution, calling for a meal plan that is notably high in fat (60-80%), with moderate protein (20-30%), and low carb intake (10%, or <50g per day).
Achieving this balance isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Here are some tips for helping you go -- and stay -- keto:
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